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Utah Legislature: Lawmakers drop charter issue to resolve education budget

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  • charter school
    March 11, 2010 1:14 p.m.

    Now I remember. Charter schools won't in any way take money away from public schools. We promise. Unless we can figure a way to make a late night change and sneak it through without the voters being aware. After all we are the best politicians that money can buy. Never forget we take care of our friends.

  • Fred
    March 11, 2010 1:30 p.m.

    So apparently the promise to do a better job for less money was a lie? Every year charters come back complaining that they are not being funded like traditional schools, and every year their buddies in the senate give them more money at the expense of the traditional public schools. I thought the goal for charters was to be different, more effective, more efficient. Apparently the goal is be funded like traditional schools but have flexibility unavailable to traditional schools. The agenda becomes clearer every day.

  • Stephen
    March 11, 2010 1:37 p.m.

    Thank you house members for choosing to make a debated informed decision, instead of a quick rash decision.

    One shining moment for House.

  • anon
    March 11, 2010 1:54 p.m.

    Fred - how about just a flat per student funding - and it goes where the student goes? I pay taxes - I figure my property tax money should go to my kid. Traditional school didn't work for my kid - the administration in our our huge district just doesn't get that a one size fit all education doesn't work for every kid. I have a bunch of kids - have done both charter and traditional school - with a bit of private preschool thrown in - some of it even spent in a title one school - which was hands down the absolute best elementary school of the four we've now attended. Funding and class size was key at that school - and hands down - it does make a difference. Parent's should have a choice - and if traditional schools are cutting it - they shouldn't feel threatened....

  • By George
    March 11, 2010 2:05 p.m.

    ...I think you've got it!

  • My Choice!
    March 11, 2010 2:26 p.m.

    "I pay taxes - I figure my property tax money should go to my kid."

    I also pay taxes but have no children. Would you also support the "choice" for someone like me to CHOOSE what school my property tax dollars go to?

    If you can choose, why can't I choose my property tax dollars to go to the traditional public school where my niece and nephew go! Great Idea!

  • 2anon
    March 11, 2010 2:30 p.m.

    To anon: You just don't get it do you? There is no such thing as a flat rate for each student. Every child has different needs, and the more needs a child has the more it will cost to educate them and conversely the less needs the less it will cost. How about we let you take "your property taxes" with you to any school to educate all of your kids. I doubt that would go very far.

    The point is that we were promised that charter schools would not take funding from our traditional public schools and now our legislators have changed their minds...not that I am surprised.

  • Anonymous
    March 11, 2010 4:51 p.m.

    Charters originally were set up getting the money from the Districts. That created a very hostile environment. I am quite sure going back to that will once again bring up bitterness.

    The state SHOULD pool all the property taxes and distribute it evenly per pupil. That would help balance funding everywhere. Of course this would upset people who have the most funding, and it would never fly.

  • Anonymous
    March 11, 2010 4:54 p.m.

    Another 11th hour sneak attack--doesn't matter what state or what party, this is what politicians do...they're all scoundrels.

  • ps
    March 11, 2010 5:01 p.m.

    If you agree or disagree with this bill the timeing by Senator Stephensen is certainly interesting. This component should have been included long before last night. This is typical of the approach that certainly creates a lack of trust. This issue should have been included in the discussions from day one. It is hard to believe that Senator Stephensen didn't have this planned long ago but waited to introduce this issue until he was in a position that was more powerful. This is not the way to change public policy!

  • MadMax
    March 11, 2010 5:02 p.m.

    The ugly head of the 'voucher movement' now appears again. While we need to address funding for charter schools if we continue to allow them, bringing this legislation up at the last minute is not right nor fair.

    Our politicians wonder why the pubilc does not trust them? This is great example of why that is the case. To me it appears sleazy and unethical. We need the citizens version of ethics reform, not one orignating from our legislture. They can't be trusted. I have idea - Let's vote them all out and begin with fresh folks and fresh ideas. It certainly could not be worse than what we have now.

    Up with the people! Down with politicians!

  • Reasonable
    March 11, 2010 5:07 p.m.

    The district should fund charter schools IF they have decision over granting the charter. You can't have the state grant the charter and then tell the district it's your problem, pay for it.

  • thelema12
    March 11, 2010 6:14 p.m.

    Why didn't Stephenson take this idea to the committee? Why did he wait until the last day of the session?

  • reasonable
    March 11, 2010 6:21 p.m.

    to thelma12

    One reason....political pressure while holding the public ed budget hostage!

  • anonymous
    March 11, 2010 8:20 p.m.

    Why does Senator Stephenson continue to try and find ways to punish public education? It is time to vote him out of office. Its time to impose term limits on the Senate and House of Representatives.

  • YES!!
    March 11, 2010 8:41 p.m.

    Best news I heard all day. I do not support charter schools

  • Anonymous
    March 11, 2010 8:42 p.m.

    Vouchers, charters, district splits, teacher layoffs, administrative salaries, Board controversies, 7/8 in high school, patrons complaining about increased taxes yet pushing 6-7 kids per family into the public ed. system? Thank goodness I have got my 30 in and can sit back and watch the self-immolation of education unfold before my eyes with little personal ramification. Short sighted adults, you will pay so dearly for this within a decade. I can't wait to see it. The only real solution? We all know it but are prevented from stating the obvious . . . a head tax. But I don't care. You can disagree all you want, but you'll eventually get it.

  • Thanks...
    March 11, 2010 9:09 p.m.

    ...Governor Herbert for being a voice of reason with the Senate. This was the correct decision for this funding bill.

  • Anonymous
    March 11, 2010 9:15 p.m.

    I pay property taxes and have no kids, so therefore I should have a choice to not pay property taxes to schools.

  • Anonymous
    March 11, 2010 9:19 p.m.

    If districts have to pay for charter schools then the voters should decide to allow new charter schools to be built or not. Otherwise, the state school board has a defacto ability to raise property taxes on voters every year. I don't know about you, but my right to vote on a property tax increase is important to me. With this new scheme, that right would be taken away and given to the ever growing state government and a small group of people on the state school board. I sometimes wonder if our legislature prefers some other government than our current republic, because they sure don't act like it.

  • And..
    March 11, 2010 9:26 p.m.

    This is familiar ground for Senator Stephenson. He used a similar approach with the last minute omnibus bill last year.

  • Thank you
    March 11, 2010 9:32 p.m.

    Big thank you to the House of Representatives and Governor Herbert for killing this last minute funding sneak attack against our public schools.

  • Anonymous
    March 11, 2010 9:43 p.m.

    Vote em all out of office!

  • The Solution is ....
    March 11, 2010 9:52 p.m.

    It is time to rally around a proper commitment to education. Utah spends far less per child, than the next highest state, Tennessee.

    However, Utah has a top national education system and student scores, as well as teacher "highly qualified," status, i.e., education level, training and additional education, is far and above the rest.

    A more educated society is a more stable society, a society with less crime, a society with a higher voter turnout and certainly a society that is economically sound.

    The more you pay teachers, the more attractive the job becomes and the better candidates are hired. Ask yourself, do you want a society not committed to well-educated, much-experienced doctors? We pay them well because we value them.

    Senator Stevenson values himself. He values ideas which places him in a position of authority, which is more of hidden-politics, rather open and educated decisions.

    Stevenson sees himself as the one who wants a few with knowledge and decision-making ability, where the few in power rule the many, keeping them ignorant of his well-conceived plans to keep the people ignorant.

    The money is there--place your trust in education, not politicians.

  • Stephenson was right
    March 11, 2010 10:26 p.m.

    in what he did. None of the previous posters seem to know the history. For FOUR YEARS Sen. Stephenson has worked during the "interim" to come up with an EQUITABLE solution to the problem of districts keeping all the funding for the kids they no longer serve (charter school students). Jordan district MAKES more than $500,000 annually for each charter school in its district. With many charter schools, it is several millions of dollars they "keep" - they BENEFIT FINANCIALLY from charter schools in a BIG way.

    The districts should not be able to "keep" the local funding for charter kids. It is immoral and dishonest. The districts know this. Rep. Bigelow told us "get together with the districts and come up with a compromise". WE DID. We came into the session with the districts agreeing that the missing funds come directly out of the income tax, effectively lowering the WPU slightly, and that's how the districts would "pay" for charter students.

    Bigelow backed out AGAIN - didn't like our solution. Stephenson got fed up and said we must fix it somehow and took action.

    Stephenson is a hero. We need more public SERVANTS like him.

  • Wait a minute!
    March 11, 2010 10:46 p.m.

    The whole premise of charters was that they could do more for less. They wouldn't take away any funding from real schools.

    Stephenson even said so himself if I remember right.

    Now they are changing their tune?

    If so, I declare charters a complete failure and ask that the gov't give back control to local schools. Stop the gov't mandates and give control back to locals.

    Isn't that the republican mantra?

  • Re: Stephenson is Right
    March 12, 2010 3:57 a.m.

    WE DID! Sounds like you are getting something out of this, in order to make Stephenson your hero.

    For me, charter schools is a simple issue. Until politicians, such as Killpack, Morley and others get totally out of the charter school "business" I am against them.

    The process is tainted. I find a BIG difference in fighting for public funding of our schools, as opposed to fighting for public funding of charter schools that have made people a lot of money.

    Follow the money. I believe the educational system can be improved and should be improved, but putting money into legislative, and other personal pockets, is not the way I choose. Legislators often have a very narrow agenda (theirs) rather than the broad agenda of providing the best for whole. Charter schools are great, if that is what you want, but NOT with my tax dollars.

  • @wait a minute
    March 12, 2010 5:35 a.m.

    You have a lot of power to declare Charters a Failure for everyone else. You should run for office!

    Charters have been the single most successful part of Utah Public education policy in the past fifty years. We are very close to making entire districts into Charters. With JSD and CSD prime and ready for a turn over we can truly revolutionize public education.

  • Hope
    March 12, 2010 5:48 a.m.

    Perhaps, we that pay the taxes felt that our public education was doing the job, there wouldn't be so many charter school popping up.

  • To: The Solution is...
    March 12, 2010 7:27 a.m.

    You wrote "Utah has a top national education system and student scores, as well as teacher "highly qualified," status, i.e., education level, training and additional education, is far and above the rest." WRONG!!!!

    Please check out the Nations Report Card put out by the federal government every year. Utah is among the bottom in reading scores for 4th grade. The scores in Utah are shocking low across the board.

    People always say that we have a very high graduation rate, this statement is true. What we are not often told is that the requirements to grad in Utah are far, far, far more lax than almost anywhere else in the country. Our graduates know less than they should.

    After you have spent time digesting the information included in the federal report, then check out the scores from Utah charter schools. Some are low, and they go out of business. Some are shockingly high! What are they doing right? This deserves more attention, more money and more praise, not elective blindness and bigotry.

  • TO: Anonymous | 9:15 p.m. March
    March 12, 2010 8:36 a.m.

    Who paid for your education?

  • When are we
    March 12, 2010 8:55 a.m.

    going to vote in more moderate representatives and senators rather than the self-serving Stephenson and the likes of Butters (can you say too far to the right radicals). I'm tired of only the views of the extreme right being adequately represented in Utah (and I'm pretty conservative on most things, just not selfish and radical). Most of the pubic is rational realizing that the views on the extremes of both parties tend to be for the benefit of the few whom share their skewed views of the world.

  • I think it is funny
    March 12, 2010 9:24 a.m.

    the commenter’s who think that public education is going to be privatized (or should be) or that charters will take over the world. When you are right wing radicals going to realize your views are in the extreme minorities and the rational people such as myself outnumber you greatly. Enjoy your day in the sun with your far right legislators on the Hill because thankfully the day of the extremes of both parties is going to come to an end as people are getting sick of lefties and righties forcing their self-serving agendas on the rest of us.

  • Two-state charter dad
    March 12, 2010 9:32 a.m.

    We have had our children in charter schools for 7 years in AZ and now for 3 here in UT. People can fight it all they want but the charter movement is here to stay and it needs to be embraced. UT takes a very controlled approach to charters, which is a little frustrating but it has avoided many of the problems there were with AZ charters. Bottom line is that the charter movement in AZ has improved "public" education all around, as "public" districts have had to compete for students. We all realize there are serious problems with our education system, and something has to happen. We all pay similar sales/income/property taxes that support the general education of our youth. When my 5 kids are out of the system, I (and they) will be paying for the education of many generations to follow. It just makes sense that there should be a per-pupil amount that should go to the school where the pupil is enrolled, including charters. I don't want to get into the voucher issue, but the logic there should really be the same - give the pupil their funds!

  • Obama the right-wing radical
    March 12, 2010 9:50 a.m.

    To "I think it is funny":

    So is your buddy Obama a right-winger? He's the one really pushing charters at a national level! In California and Arizona, it's not just right-wing republicans pushing charters. I haven't seen any polls, but even in our republican-dominated state I bet there are numerous liberals and independents who are embracing the charter movement, if they really give it a try.

  • Anonymous
    March 12, 2010 10:10 a.m.

    I agree. I declare charters a complete failure on the funding issue and call for their demise.

  • Kudos
    March 12, 2010 10:23 a.m.

    Governor Herbert is doing a great job. He could just tow the party line but he does what he and just about every other Utahn knows is right. He has shown that in spite of threats from his party and the ilk he is willing to do what is right. Sure, I may not like some of his stances but at least he is a man with integrity. There are certain people in the legislature that are only there for their one political issue. (Getting rid of public education is the big one for a lot of Utah politicians).

  • You want to save some money?
    March 12, 2010 11:10 a.m.

    And up the per pupil funding at the same time? Then get rid of all the districts, convert all schools to charters, give the teachers and the parents full control, elect a principal from among the teachers. The State Board can provide some pooled resources that the districts now provide - but you can dump all the rest of the overhead.

    Need to pay for new schools in growing areas? Fine, start assessing developer fees on every new house - $4K to 5K ought to do it. Suddenly all the JSD/CSD drama is gone (what a shame), and all the charter/regular school drama is gone too. Not to mention the math wars of ASD.

    Kids changing schools in the middle of the year causing a problem? Change how you determine attendance. Some states do an average daily attendance - no reason why this couldn't be done on a monthly basis and schools funded accordingly. Wouldn't make any difference to the state, they don't care which school you go to, the budget for the year is still the same. But it would fix the problem for individual schools.

  • I say let's
    March 12, 2010 11:25 a.m.

    have a popular vote (isn't that the purest form of democracy) and see the majority want charters. If they do, fine, fund them fully. If not, bye bye charters. I am sick of special interest groups getting there way. By the way, if charters are so great, why do they score lower on the whole on standardized tests than traditional public schools? I don’t won’t my tax payer money (and I pay more than most due to income) diverted from my district schools.

  • Re: To I think it is funny
    March 12, 2010 11:34 a.m.

    obviously you only read what you want to (or are you just obtuse) as I said righties and lefties are the problem. Let's look at America's most dominant period (last 100 or so years) what has been the educational model that got us there? Hum, I know public schools. Sorry radicals, you don't have any empirical evidence, especially for the schools in this state, justifying the need to rob from the public schools for your pet projects at might tax payer expense.

  • More savings...
    March 12, 2010 11:52 a.m.

    How about some more cost savings? Be like Beehive Academy (public charter school in Holladay) and buy all kids a UTA pass. Right now we have UTA buses that are mostly empty at rush hours, totally empty the rest of the time. Then we have school buses that are packed before and after school, but collecting dust most of the time. Seems like if you could have schools all be 9:00 to 4:00 we could all save a ton of money and improve our public transit system. Don't know what you'd do about student safety for the younger kids though - so many perverts out there...

  • @More savings...
    March 12, 2010 12:16 p.m.

    So just do it for the high schools - they use the buses more than the elementary schools anyway (bigger territory with more students outside of walking distance). Middle schools, well, let the parents vote. You can still run the special ed buses as needed - that's a tiny fraction of the total.